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OpenMarket: Eli Lehrer

  • Climate Change Analysis Rejected. Why is this News?

    September 21, 2007
    I don't know what to make of it but DeSmog Blog--which seems pretty alarmist--reports that Dr. Klaus-Martin Schulte's analysis of Global Warming journal articles (which shows that a debate continues) has been rejected by one journal's editor. The post seems to be getting a lot of attention (including a link of the glorious but, judging from the story, I wonder why it's news at all.

    Here's what happened best as I can tell: One the chief editor of an editor reviewed journal (here are the guidelines) has decided she doesn't like the paper. Her right. (Although, if this journal works like most, this implies that the relevant section editor did like the paper.)
    Maybe it is a bad paper. (I...
  • For Our Pirate Readers

    September 20, 2007
    Arrr. Shiver me timbers! Why hasn't CEI done more t' celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day? Only one post? Although Seafarin' heartys be, fer th' most part, thieves an' murderers, th' romantic vision o' th' swashbuckler does be havin' some truth. Seafarin' heartys, historians tell us, mostly had regular, careers an' chose t' reinvent they's self on th' high seas. Eighteenth century swashbucklers be rebellin' against th' class system that Britain then imposed. They e'en get a brief aside in Gordon Wood's great Radicalism o' th' American Revolution. Although brutal in many respects, swashbuckler crews be egalitarian: almost all welcomed escaped slaves an' more than a wee allowed lasses t' join. (At least two lasses e'en became swashbuckler captains.) So, on this tide, two cheers fer sweet trade.
  • Internet Co-Ops, Why Not?

    September 19, 2007
    Wayne's post got me thinking. Yes, of course, its absurd for Sen. Byron Dorgan to say that consumers somehow own fiber "pipes" that clearly belong to corporate stockholders. But, then again, I do wonder if private, voluntary co-ops might well be a good way to accelerate the roll out of some types of technology. Insurance companies, credit unions, business franchisers, electric utilities, and even food stores all sometimes operate as co-ops and mutuals. (Both are member-owned but co-ops typically require an upfront equity investment while mutuals "give" a measure of ownership to anyone who does business with them. Both hand out a portion of their corporate profits to members.)

    The economics of rolling out any type of network are difficult: you have to sustain years and years of losses....
  • Health and Other People's Money

    September 17, 2007
    As the health care debate heats up in Congress, in the media, and on the campaign trail, proposals to fix America's health care system have poured in from all directions. Everyone talks the language of good health care, market mechanisms, and personal responsibility. But, in my judgment, one thing is missing from almost all of the proposals: With one major exception, the proposals under serious debate retain the broken framework that assumes that others (employers and the government) should be responsible for paying for individuals' health care. Some ideas offer various incentives for people to buy insurance on their own but all assume that hardly anyone will pay their own medical bills.

    To me, honestly, the identity of the payer matters only a little. For many people, a health care plan your job forces on you -- which is what the overwhelming majority of full-time workers in the U.S....
  • Goodbye to Active Management?

    September 17, 2007
    A very interesting USA Today story points to investors' flight from actively managed mutual funds largely in favor of index funds. In general, mutual funds with active management -- often mathematically complex back-tested strategies that require lots of human effort to devise -- underperform market indexes that simply buy every stock in a certain index. Smart investors have known this for a long time. I think it's a good data point towards showing that it's impossible to predict -- or plan -- any really complex system.
  • They're Timid, Not (Always) Leftist

    September 14, 2007
    The University of California, Irvine, has just made what appears to be a truly boneheaded move by withdrawing a left-wing law professors' nomination to run the law school. The scholar, Erwin Chemerinsky, has strong left-wing views but seems universally acknowledged to be a top-notch mind and good administrator.

    This seems to prove a theory I've long held: Very few university administrators are actually the visigoths in tweed that right-wingers (including, well, me) have sometimes painted them as. Instead, they're just afraid of offending anybody and kowtow to anybody who yells loudly enough.

    I was gratified to see that more than a few prominent conservatives are defending Chemerinsky. Of course, the widespread support for him seems to indicate that even the Right likely...
  • In Defense of Freegans (Sorta)

    September 12, 2007
    Well, someone had to do it. UnlikeWayne I don't mind the freegans. Yes, they're annoying and self righteous. But they do practice what they preach. So what if they like "good" garbage? So, presumably, do homeless people and others who are actually in need. Likewise, yes, they would prefer social changes that I don't like: so do lots of other groups. A liberal society should make room for all sorts of oddballs and actually becomes stronger on the basis of this sort of genuine diversity. To me, they're pretty much harmless and may even provide a good object lesson of the lifestyle the environmental left would like to impose on all of us.
  • Pathologizing Political Disagreement

    September 11, 2007
    Of course, the study that Wayne cites isn't the first of its type. One that comes to mind is Frank Sulloway's study that claimed to show that conservatives were more-or-less mentally ill. Unable to win in the debate over ideas, the Left has little left but to claim that its opponents suffer some sort of pathology.
  • About Metro

    September 10, 2007

    I have three comments about what you say here.

    First, on paratransit. The paratransit service (MetroAccess) in this area is already run by private contractors. And, it appears that they aren't doing a good job. (See second article down.) The short-term solution, obviously, to create vouchers it in some way and, in many cities (including in Northern Virginia), that could work. The "problem" is that in D.C., nearly all cabs are owned by their drivers, and as a result don't participate in big dispatch systems, and thus can't really be called to a specific location (There are cab companies in the phone book but good luck on getting a cab to show up when promised.)

    D.C. has this system -- which makes it is much easier to hail a cab...
  • About that $100 Million Skull

    September 9, 2007
    I count myself amongst those who think Damien Hirst -- he of the shark-in formaldehyde -- a first-rate artist. His work is shocking, interesting, stimulating, and, sometimes even beautiful. Now he's sold "For the Love of God" at about $100 million. (50 million GBP.) The work consists of a human skull in platinum studded with flawless diamonds. It's presumably the most expensive work of art ever created. As a fan of capitalism, I suppose I should be happy that he's found so much success. But I'm not sure if there's any way to comment on it except to say that the buyers have got to be awfully dim to think that this is a good idea. the piece is obviously a very expensive, ironic commentary on conspicuous consumption and by buying it, the buyers are. . .well, consuming conspicuously. I can't imagine anyone...


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